Memorial Day approaches and for some, it’s just a day, just the third of a three day weekend, but for me and many like me, it’s a day to remember.

I remember that it is in this very ‘infant’ country, being only 2 and a half centuries old, the United States of America, that my children and grandchildren were born in a hospital with the assistance of doctors and nurses who chose to be doctors and nurses educated by professors who chose to be professors, just down the designed, paved, painted, mapped, and lit highway on a piece of land engineers designed, admin assistants assisted, managers managed, workers worked, and drivers drove, all by choice, and ALL having that choice because men and women chose to give their lives for the freedom of choice we all share.

When I returned from Africa some years ago now, and was picked up by my wife, Jaclyn, at the airport and we headed home traveling 60 plus miles an hour (If you know Jaclyn you know that was a pretty big plus) I was overcome by such an appreciation for what the many men and women who were drafted or volunteered to make a difference for the freedoms I experience every day.

I can close my eyes right now and remember the sights, smells, and sounds of downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone as if it was a moment ago. I have a weird memory. Still, I remember.
I think I was raised with a foundational appreciation for the US but it was in Sierra Leone that a skyscraper of gratitude was erected for those we remember this Monday.

“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick.
We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived.

When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.” – President Ronald Reagan at Arlington National Cemetery, November 11, 1985

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